Google Testing Search Results Without URLs

Google Logo - StockGoogle is testing yet another user interface change – this time by not showing the URL of the search results on the page.

@tecnonetblog tweeted that he spotted this test and posted images of it on Twitter.

In the images below, you won’t see the URL, which is now green followed by an arrow, under the title of the search results.

Here is a picture of the desktop version:

google-search-results-no-url

Here is a picture of the mobile version:

google-search-results-no-url-mobile

Google, in the past, tested orange URLs. I should note that Google is always testing user interface changes, so no one should be surprised with this test.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: User Interface

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • http://www.michaelcropper.co.uk/ Michael Cropper

    This could help squeeze another PPC at at the top with the space saving :-)

  • http://twitter.com/forestsoftware John Mitchell

    Hmm.. not sure if I like this as a user, I tend to look at the URLs in the results as there are some sites that I don’ trust even if Google does and places their pages in the results. In the examples above I’d probably be looking for the relevant page on the Microsoft site and there is no clue as to which result(s) that is.

  • http://twitter.com/liamhgfisher Liam Fisher

    Sounds like a huge way of opening the door to dodgy sites impersonating legitimate ones.

  • Nick Boylan

    I wouldn’t like this at all. I glance at the URLs all the time, to determine the legit-ness of the source. Particularly if I’m looking for legal information or otherwise, or government services, etc.

  • Guest

    I agree with John Mitchell. I also tend to scan the URLs in the results. Here’s to hoping Google doesn’t roll out this change to all of their users.

  • http://twitter.com/onreact_com Tad Chef

    Soon the will drop the links too and display only a preview of results hosted on Google.

  • http://www.facebook.com/StraightOG Jake Taylor

    This cripples the ability to scrape search results with URLs, which sucks!

  • http://www.ushomeshopping.com Miken Cici

    I don’t like this idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yieldway Diana Meyer

    Sincerely I don’t like this coming change!! Usually I look for the URL in order to choose on which site I want to get the info I am looking for! Why? Just because there are sites with bad content and others with usually very good information, so if now I have to go from one site to another in order to get the info I want it will be a waste of much time. Added to that there are sites who have many adverts and pop ups!! I think that this change won’t improve users experience!

  • http://www.rustybrick.com/barry Barry Schwartz

    No one said this is coming. It is just a test at this point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yieldway Diana Meyer

    Oh Thanks Barry… I misunderstood, sorry ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/VirtualMarketer Rebecca Murtagh

    Kind of feels like new-wave obfuscation?

  • Joe

    Time to all migrate to Bing. This is stupid for many reasons. They probably want to see if more users will click on ads if they remove the URLs.

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    Looks cleaner, but it removes that little bit of visual verification everyone does before clicking through. Looksjustlikeafamousnamebrand.blogger.com will get lots more traffic now, unless Google starts sticking the brand onto the title – and getting it right 100% of the time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.boulton.71 Adam Boulton

    There’s one thing I do like about it, and one thing I don’t like about it.

    Don’t Like: Google search without URL’s.

    Do Like: That this is just a test.

    It cleans it up a bit, BUT the URL’s are a quick and easy way to filter results based on the type of domain a visitor sees.

    Bad idea IMO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pedro.martheyn Pedrito Lopez Martheyn

    As John M. said, this could have a negative impact on consumers “brand trust” – I personally do never click on a listing paid or organic without looking at the URL first. Now as a marketer, how will this impact the QS as the display url could play a factor when calculating QS and relevancy.

    On a different note, I have been getting results that put social sites at the top of the organic listings.. #1 FB and #2 for twitter… Has anyone else had seen this ?

  • Shannon Sofield

    In a perfect world, we would not need to see the URLs because the results would be perfectly relevant. This is not that world and the display or the URL is the second most important part of the result imho after the title. When doing a search for a code fix, I’d rather select a site like Stack Overflow rather than experts-exchange.

  • http://www.facebook.com/micoproblemado Mico De Guzman Villasenor

    I think this is a bad idea. On a user perspective, URLs play a very important role in terms of the ‘clickability’ of a page — and I believe it should not be removed on the SERP.

    I’m glad this is just a test.

  • William Rock

    Sounds like a perfect way for spammers to abuse it with especially URL Redirects from Shortening tools that are modified to redirect the visitor to any controlled location. I like seeing the URL before I click.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512945366 Jaimie Sirovich

    Ugh. At least show the domain so I can verify my level of trust for payp4l.com. Google knows plenty, but stuff slips through.

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/blog/ Neil Ferree

    I doubt this test will see an “official” launch of sorts? Why would Google sabotage the Rich Snippet micro format they’ve put so much effort into to date?

  • http://jimyiapanis.com/ Jim Yiapanis

    Looks great, although I think the domain name would suffice.

  • ronniesmustache

    A pretty ridiculous thing to test, imo.

  • Believer

    Not digging it. I like having the URL

  • Peter Roberts

    If they remove the URLs, webmasters will simply put the URL in the snippet, especially for branding.

  • Thomas King

    Puts more importance in the inclusion of brands in the title tag on each page so that users know where it is they are being taken. Not a smart move by Google. This will frustrate users who are brand conscious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/petr.r.skupa Petr Reo Skůpa

    Manny mentioned:
    “URLs are important for users to understand the page’s source”
    and I 100% agree, I too need the URLs to see for myself to decide upon what I am going to click on.
    Yet I am not so positive that the test will fail with flying colors (as Austin had put it), it would obviously fail, … if usefulness for users was the only criterion for Google to decide. Unfortunately, from experience – looking for example on the “reform” on YouTube (*) – additional useful informations are often weeded out, so the user is more dependent on the Google algorithm and is going to passively pick the choices given by the Provider.

    I dread the possibility that bigger number of passive users is one of actual goals of Google corp., probably that would help to deliver the add too.

    ———————————
    *) Do You still remember the YouTube of old? Normally the search algorithm would recommend You many results, yet You would decide on what to click also by looking on the rating bar bellow (the stars were the best, the green-red bar was not as useful, still better then nothing). There is absolutely no reason to not include the rating bar in the results. (Is there ?)

    When You search for something on YouTube the Google algorithm will bring forward many clips with fitting criteria and titles (Yet You don’t know how well they will correspond with it in content and what quality it is)

    Now, You never know, whether the particular search result is not some kind of sick joke and the passion to look at random videos is partly gone. You try rather more often to subscribe to those providers delivering nice content and be dependent on them. The behavior on YouTube changed profoundly. With passing time, small independent clips (often created accidentally) ceased to be successful (or on the other hand freaky fakes, shams and deceitfully titled videos are gaining millions of later angry viewers) and to be successful in this environment its better for You to make it with the support of some professional help.

    So what if users of Google searches will not be dissatisfied? They still will mostly need the searching anyway (?) And Google algorithm will proudly bring them, what the algorithm will judge is the right thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005351111876 Chris Lewis

    Cute idea but no real advantage to users or companies the url belongs to. As a consumer I will get really annoyed if every time I clicks on the link I get information on products that are related to a product that I wanted or a blackhat SEO that tricks the systems to get high results gets and give me wrong results. For companies especially the big international ones this idea gives no advantage at all and will just make more people annoyed.

    Interesting idea but not really worth the time spent on it.

  • http://www.digitalmarketinganalytics.net/ Ramki

    This help to create more revenue from paid search. The peole click the results on domain brand awareness / value reflected in the URL. If the URL not exists, the brand needs to compete in Paid Ads. This means more revenue for Google. Do they Planning to remove Display URL from Paid Ad Text?

  • http://in.linkedin.com/in/surajgadage Suraj G Internet Marketing Pro

    Yes your are absolutely right Michel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amitrawat85 Amit Rawat

    WOW!! this is pretty amazing…soon Google will be giving business class facilities to its paid users (PPC) and their results will be displayed in pack of 10 by replacing the Organic results….then we will have PPC results in pack of 10 and organic result in sidebar in a pack of 2,3,4,7
    HATS of to GOOGLE for supporting only PPC users and making full use of monopoly in search engines.

  • http://www.facebook.com/waseem.sindhu Waseem Sindhu

    I don’t open a site from the list of search results unless I take a look at the site name, this doesn’t sound +ve to me :$

  • http://www.ads-marketing.co.uk/ Adam@ADS Marketing

    I will be surprised if they make this change. I much prefer to see the URL myself, but if they want to push PPC then this could benefit Google more as users may become more curious and click on Ads.

  • http://twitter.com/KOwebsites KO-Websites.com

    Without the URL’s, you can’t filter the Yelp, Facebook and 3rd party directories out. That would really suck.

  • http://www.tylerherrick.com Tyler Herrick

    Have you SEEN the behind the scenes meetings on how a change may impact users? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtRJXnXgE-A If you had, there’s no way you could stand behind your statement.

  • Hardono Arifanto

    Is it the perfect time to jump to DuckDuckGo (and hopefully not to repeat the history?) :D

  • getspread

    read this artical on linking urls on getspread.com

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